The Elite climbs decently, but I had to make sure, I bounced and picked up the front end in some spots to be able to keep it climbing. It was not quite the ‘stick like glue’ of the Magura Thor on climbs.
When I pointed the fork downhill the Elite’s plushness was a delight, driving over anything was smooth and easy with not a bit of harshness. What I really like about this fork is the plushness the fork has over large bumps and big terrain. The fork will drive over anything without a twitter. The vague steering makes it difficult to point it exactly where you want it, so in the big stuff you pretty much let the bike go where it wants, you don’t have much choice. I wish more forks could have this type of plushness feel when flying down through a rock garden, man is it sweet. This fork likes to haul butt downhill, the faster it is going, the better it performs and the more stable it feels.
On some technical sections, the vague steering was noticeable again, and it did not have the laser like steering of the Magura Thor, but the plushness helped overcome most of that problem. However, was it nice to plow over anything, and I found myself driving over harder lines just for fun.
I really liked the micro platform adjustments, I could make to the fork’s behavior by using the Absolute damper. I regularly moved it between open to 1-2 on climbs or technical terrain, and I enjoyed the Absolute’s fine details it allowed.
Installing the wheel was pretty easy, just insert the 20mm axle which has two hexagons shaped bumps on each end, mesh it up with the fork legs and then thread on a large M6 button headed bolt, then tighten the four M5 pinch bolts that clamp the axle. It’s a quick and fast process. I did notice that the pinch bolts like to loosen up so I added some Locktite to alleviate the issue.
I weigh 155 lbs. and used pressure from 70 psi to 85 psi, depending upon the terrain I was riding. The lower setting was perfect for mellow trails and offered the nicest plushness. In more technical and rougher terrain, you had to keep the pressure high, else there would be too many fork dives. I used the Absolute platform quite a bit, using 1-2 for climbs and technical terrain, and 2-4 for fire roads and smooth singletrack.
Minute Elite Absolute Specs (measured)
Axle-to-crown measurement: 515mm
Elite w/o axle (uncut) – 1778.4 grams
Hex-Lock Axle – 71 grams
Elite w/ Hex-Lock Axle (uncut) – 1849.4 grams
I want to pass along big thanks to Denny at Hayes for all the assistance he provided during my testing of the fork.